First Pitch: Is Freddy ready?

Freddy Garcia takes the mound fighting for his spot in the beleaguered rotation. With Andy Pettitte maybe just two weeks away, Garcia must start pitching well if he is going to have any chance of staying in the rotation when No. 46 returns.

Garcia is 0-1 with a 9.75 ERA and is yet to have a good start in three tries. He has looked nothing like the pitcher the Yankees saw last year when he finished with 12 wins and a 3.62 ERA.

Unless Garcia drastically improves, the only way he can seemingly stay in the rotation is because Phil Hughes' continues to fail or an injury to another starter. Hughes has been equally as unimpressive, going 1-2 with a 7.87 ERA.

David Phelps is stretched out enough that he could throw 100 pitches, meaning he could conceivably take Garcia's spot in the rotation if Garcia is awful again today.

Garcia needs to get right against a lineup that has had some success against him. In the ALDS last October, Garcia lost Game 2, giving up four runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Miguel Cabrera has a .391 average (9-for-23), including three homers off Garcia. Prince Fielder has only faced Garcia five times and has two hits, both singles.

UP NOW: When does the bad Yankee pitching stop? Ivan Nova joins the crowd. Mike Mazzeo details how Derek Jeter's hitting streak ended as he helped win the game for the Yankees.

ON DECK: Garcia faces Drew Smyly (0-0, 1.13) on Saturday. CC Sabathia and Max Scherzer get it on on Sunday.

IN THE HOLE: Mazzeo, Matt Ehalt and Johnette Howard will be in the Bronx for the 4 p.m. game. The clubhouse opens at 12:30 p.m. Mark Simon will have his What2Watch4 at 10:30 a.m. so keep coming back. And thanks for reading.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How concerned are you about the Yankees pitching?